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NST Online: Sports

Badminton / Korea Open: Showdown in Seoul

Posted: 29 Jan 2011 04:31 PM PST

By K.M. Boopathy

LEE Chong Wei's relentless surge for a season opening hat-trick will be severely tested today by Olympic champion Lin Dan of China as the arch enemies clash to earn the highest prize money ever for men's singles in the Korea Open in Seoul today.

Chong Wei secured his final berth with a clinical 21-10, 21-10 win over Du Pengyu of China in 34 minutes to set up an exciting clash against Lin Dan.

Lin Dan was forced to work hard for a 23-21, 20-22, 21-15 win over Simon Santoso of Indonesia in 75 minutes and may not have it easy against his opponent who has been brimming with confidence.

Chong Wei has won the World Super Series Masters Finals in Taipei and the Malaysia Open and will be aiming to defend the title that comes with a US$90,000 (RM275,000) purse.

The due were supposed to face off in the semi-finals of the Malaysia Open last week but an abdominal injury forced Lin Dan to concede a walkover to compatriot Chen Long in the last eight. Chen Long suffered a thrashing at the hands of Chong Wei.

The stats are in favour of Lin Dan with 15 wins opposed to Chong Wei's seven.

National singles coach Tey Siu Bock, in a telephone interview from Seoul, said Chong Wei has been in good form while Lin Dan has been struggling but feels it is to close to call.

"Chong Wei-Lin Dan's matches have been very close lately and it will be no different tomorrow (today). Chong Wei has reached the final fora second consecutive week and physically, he will be tested if the match goes the distance," said Siu Bock.

"One advantage is the last two matches involving Lin Dan went to three games while Chong Wei won comfortably.

"I feel that mental aspect will play a major part and the shuttler who can withstand the pressure will take it."

Meanwhile, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong's run came to an expected end as they fell 20-22, 21-9, 21-10 to South Koreans Jung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae in the semi-finals.

It was Kien Keat-Boon Heong's 10th defeat in 12 meetings and national doubles coach Rexy Mainaky, when contacted in Seoul, said the Malaysians didn't have the patience to counter the Koreans.

"Kien Keat and Boon Heong opted for long rallies and there was a lot of positive intent from the former and they managed to win the first game. However, they didn't stick to the game plan," said Rexy.

"The shuttle was slow and it is not easy to kill the rallies fast and they remained close until 8-9 in the second game. After that Kien Keat-Boon Heong got too impatient and lost it.

"They tried to revert to the game plan in the third but there was a bit of a draught and they were just unable to contain the Koreans."

Jae Sung-Yong Dae will play World No 1 Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen, who denied an-Korean final after beating Ko Sung Hyun-Yoo Yeon Seong 21-17, 21-19, today.

RESULTS -- (All S-Finals) Men's Singles: Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Du Penyu (Chn) 21-10, 21-10; Lin Dan (Chn) bt Simon Santoso (Ina) 23-21, 20-22, 21-15.

Doubles: Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den) bt Ko Sung Hyun-Yoo Yeon Seong (Kor) 21-17, 21-19; Jung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae (Kor) bt Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (Mas) 20-22, 21-9, 21-10.

Women's Singles: Wang Yihan (Chn) bt Sung Ji Hyun (Kor) 21-5, 18-21, 21-18; Wang Shixian (Chn) bt Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Tha) 21-7, 21-13.

Doubles: Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (Chn) bt Cheng Wen Hsing-Chien Yu Chin (Tai) 21-9, 17-21, 21-7; Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Du Jing-Pan Pan (Chn) 21-12, 22-20.

Mixed doubles: Tao Jiaming-Tian Qing (China) bt Ko Sung Hyun-Ha Jung Eun (Kor) 21-18, 21-17; Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Xu Chen-Ma Jin (Chn) 21-14, 21-11.

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Hockey: Stahr shines as UniKL edge past

Posted: 29 Jan 2011 04:23 PM PST

By Jugjet Singh

UniKL’s Philipp Stahr (left) tries to get past Maybank’s Engku Abdul Malek Engku Mohamed in their match in Kuantan yesterday. — Picture by Luqman Hakim Zubir

UniKL's Philipp Stahr (left) tries to get past Maybank's Engku Abdul Malek Engku Mohamed in their match in Kuantan yesterday. — Picture by Luqman Hakim Zubir

PHILIPP Stahr shone like a beacon to guide UniKL to a last-minute victory over Maybank in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League at the Kuantan Stadium yesterday.

The highly charged match, which saw six yellow cards flashed, was heading towards a 1-1 draw but a last minute penalty corner gave full points to the university side.

UniKL's German import Kevin Lim gave them the lead with a 39th minute penalty corner but 39-year-old former international Chairil Anwar equalised for Maybank with a 55th minute field goal.

The match turned robust after that, and six players were flashed the yellow card to cool down the situation.

From Maybank, K. Gobinathan (35th), Riduan Nasir (66th) and Hairul Nizam (41st) were shown yellow while UniKL's Khairil Anuar saw yellow twice (47th and 59th minutes) while Syamin Yusof was sent off in the 59th.

And just when Maybank were ready to celebrate their hard-fought draw, UniKL won a penalty corner in the 70th minute and Stahr flicked in the winner.

Maybank coach Wallace Tan attributed his team's erratic form to injuries, and inexperienced juniors.

"I am not making excuses for our worst season in a decade, but we have been bogged down by a string of injuries, six players to be precise, and have also fielded five juniors who lack match experience," said Tan.

"The young players made some basic mistakes which led to goals being scored against us. But I am still giving them maximum time, because I am looking at next season, where hopefully they will become more confident."

Tenaga Nasional bounced back from a 2-0 defeat to Sapura on Friday to hammer Nur Insafi 5-2.

Amin Rahim, the best flicker in the country, delivered a hat-trick in the 25th, 47th and 55th minutes, while the other goals were scored by Faizal Saari (58th, 67th).

Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) rested several key players against UITM, but won 6-1 with to strengthen their grip at the top of the standings.

PREMIER DIVISION -- RESULTS: Maybank 1 UniKL 2, Tenaga Nasional 5 Nur Insafi 2, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club 6 UiTM 1, YNS 3 Armed Forces 1.

DIVISION ONE -- TODAY: Ipoh City Council v Bukit Jalil Sports School (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5pm), Bandar Penawar Sports School v Malacca CC (Bandar Penawar, 5pm), Armed Forces Juniors v Universiti Sains Malaysia (Tun Razak Stadium, 5pm).

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